Luis Leeds on top in Formula 4 despite Super Saturday scramble
Luis Leeds has taken the Round 3 victory of the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship and leads the Round 4 standings despite mixed results across the massive four-race Saturday at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Lochie Hughes won the reverse grid Race 2 to start the super Saturday in Victoria, but a fuel sensor issue saw the Team BRM driver out of Race 3 before it even began. Luis Leeds held second, with Harry Hayek finishing in third in his return to Australian Formula 4.
Ryan Suhle took Race 3, finishing just 0.0059 seconds ahead of Leeds. Suhle led lights-to-flag with Leeds on his gearbox for the entire race but unable to capitalise despite a fierce almost-twelve-lap-battle between the leaders. Leeds pounced on the last lap, and the pair crossed the line wheel-to-wheel with nothing separating them. Behind them, the hungry pack chased down Antonio Astuti for the final podium position. A second-lap contest between Harry Hayek and Jackson Walls for fourth gave Astuti the breathing room he needed to catch the leaders, ultimately finishing in third.
The Race 1 victory and two second place finishes saw Luis Leeds take the Round 3 victory, with Ryan Suhle in second and Harry Hayek stealing third from Lochie Hughes by one point.
Round 4 began just hours later, with Race 4 of the extended weekend soon underway.
Luis Leeds had set the benchmark on Friday, taking pole position for both Race 1 and Race 4 of the weekend, and led every lap of the interrupted Race 4. Leeds stormed away from the restart and drew his lead out to 2.165 seconds before taking the chequered flag ahead of Lochie Hughes. Ryan Suhle and Antonio Astuti went wheel-to-wheel on the final lap in the battle for third, with Astuti ultimately coming away with the final podium position.
Harry Hayek and Ryan Suhle were on the front row for the reverse-grid Race 5, with Hayek taking an early lead off the start. Antonio Astuti was quickly past Suhle, as the pair resumed their battle from the previous race. The lead pair began to pull away, with Astuti falling into the clutches of the chasing Lochie Hughes and Luis Leeds.
Hayek and Suhle went two-wide into Honda Corner, with Suhle stealing the race lead. Meanwhile, Luis Leeds went around the outside of Lochie Hughes into Turn 1, passing the Queenslander on the approach to Turn 2. Astuti was soon on Hayek’s tail, with the pair battling for second and quickly joined by Leeds in a three-way battle for the two final podium positions.
Astuti appeared to clip Hayek, as the Team BRM car shed its rear wing on the main straight as the field commenced lap 8. This unleashed Astuti and Leeds, and the slowing Hayek eventually dropped to last in the eight-car field. Leeds took Astuti the next lap, out-pacing his teammate in a drag race down the main straight. The field would finish in this order, with Ryan Suhle taking the victory ahead of Luis Leeds and Antonio Astuti.
Luis Leeds tops the Round 4 standings as the championship returns on Sunday morning for the final race of the weekend.